Remix, Remake, Curate

Learning with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Tar River Writing Project, & The Poetry Project

Make Cycle 1: Citizen Science Starts Next Week

Hi, everyone and thanks for signing up to join Year Two of Remix, Remake, Curate!

YouTube Video Screen Capture

Spoken word poets Tre and Micah help last year’s participants turn observations into poetry in a YouTube video tutorial.

Our Fall 2015 programming starts next week, and we are excited that you will join us to explore the intersections of science and poetry in the world around us! Starting next Saturday, September 19, you’ll receive a newsletter like this one that provides you with a set of activities that you can follow along with in your classroom, your youth group, or on your own over the next two weeks.

Together, we’ll explore a particular scientific concept and practice and produce science and science media that you can share in our Google Plus community and on Twitter at the hashtag #imakesci.  We’ll also host one “event” each week, either a Twitter chat or a Google Hangout, so that you and your young people can connect with the scientists, poets, and facilitators in real time.  You are welcome to do as much or as little as you like with us as you adapt these events to your context and your goals as an educator or a learner. Overall, we hope that you learn something new about science and about poetry, do something creative with your learning, and have a ton of fun as you do it!

Preparing for the MOOC

Over the next week, you’ll want to get ready to make the most of this experience for yourself and the young people participating with you. Depending on the ages of the youth you work with, you’ll want to have them set up a Google Plus account and a Twitter profile OR set up a class or group profile for Twitter and Google Plus where you or other adults monitor young people’s content and postings.  Last year many of our elementary and middle school participants set up class profiles to connect with us and most of our high school students engaged with their own accounts.

In addition, some of our groups participated only on Google Plus or only through Twitter.  We’ll stream information through each channel so you can stay connected either way. Finally, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with both Google Hangouts on Air and with Twitter chat procedures if you want to connect directly with poets, scientists, and teachers over the two weeks. We’ll send out invitations to participate, and you can join us live or watch/read the archived videos or chats later in the week. Remember that you can reach out to local technology facilitators for help, and don’t hesitate to contact our own project director Stephanie West-Puckett ( for virtual assistance anytime.

Sneak Preview of Make Cycle Onemoth at porch light

Get ready to become a citizen scientist and study the night-time insects in your backyard or neighborhood!  During Make Cycle One (September 20- October 2), we’ll ask participants to flip on their porch lights or find an existing wall or street light and observe and document what they see. Participants might take photographs, draw or sketch particular insects, describe them using words, or combine these ways of documenting to gather as much information as possible.  You might do this for one night or for a week or more–it’s up to you!  Facilitators will share guides and how-to’s for creating scientific field notes and for creatively representing and sharing their “findings.”  There will be opportunities to get help identifying species as well as leveling up both scientifically and poetically depending on age level and interest.

And Finally…

Thanks to everyone who helped us create this cool sci-poem last week at the NC Museum of Natural Science’s educator open house! We borrowed a post on antlions from The Dragonfly Woman, Chris Goforth’s wonderful insect blog and collaboratively selected and deleted words to make a blackout poem that turned a scientific non-fiction text into a scientific poem.  What emerged was this:

educators work on black-out poem

Educators Deborah and Sarah contribute to the black-out poem at the NCMNS Educator Open House.

black-out poem

Black Out Science Poetry

Prairie Ridge antlions at work
moving about.  There are hoards.

For a moment, digging.
Abdomen, thorax, head.
Mouth-parts for a moment.

Like the Sarlaccc in Star,
Sci-fi lover.  Antlion pits.
Little craters. Monster.

Predators wait.
Unsuspecting victims slip into the cone-shaped pits,
Tumble to the bottom.
Loose sand.

Whole larva swallowed by the sand,
Cone-shaped pit, sand all over the place.

Hapless ant, it’s next meal.
Antlions are crazy cool.
Larvae, they roll.  Ball.
Damselfly-like antlion. Same species.

As that antlion lying in wait,Bugfest Info
Jaws poised,
Just below the surface,
Sight. Life. Over.

Series of photos, re-burrying itself.
Larvae crawl backwards,
Butt first, bewildered.
Larvae hooked the easiest
Misidentification pet.

Repeating, burying itself.
Pit.  Lurks beneath surface.

Meet the dragonfly woman, our poets, and teachers and learners across the state online in Remix, Remake, Curate next week! If you’re able, you might also visit the NCMNS’s hugely popular BugFest Event on Saturday, September 19!  We’d love to hear about your experiences.


Author: Stephanie

I am an assistant professor of Writing and Rhetoric and director of First Year Writing at the University of Rhode Island. I received my PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication from East Carolina University. My dissertation research analyzes the knowledge-making practices of composers in both online and off-line maker spaces, and my digital writing research has appeared in journals like College English and Education Science and in the books The Next Digital Scholar: A Fresh Approach to the Common Core State Standards in Research and Writing and Assessing Students Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely.

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